"You should never fall in love with an asset." Those are the words of Bristol-Myers Squibb's CFO, who assured investors today that his company won't be despondent if ImClone Systems ultimately rejects its buyout offer.
Part of the high-stakes bluffing game--part poker, part chicken--that these takeover bids often become? Maybe. Or maybe Jean-Marc Huet does, as he said, "understand the business very well." Maybe he knows enough about ImClone to see that a deal wouldn't be a good deal under all circumstances. "[T]here are situations in which we are willing to walk away," he said.
You'll recall that Bristol offered $60 a share for its partner-in-Erbitux, and ImClone promptly called that price inadequate. Just last week, Chairman Carl Icahn announced that he had a major pharma company just offstage, $70-per-share offer in hand. Since then, Icahn and Bristol CEO Jim Cornelius have been sparring over buyout protocol and, more importantly, Bristol's rights to an ImClone follow-up to Erbitux.
This take-it-or-leave-it tale is the latest salvo--but certainly not the last. Stay tuned.